Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!!!  We had a nice, quiet holiday with just our family.  The kids had fun at the St George Easter Egg Hunt as well as coloring eggs and getting goodies from the Easter Bunny.  

Easter egg hunt!

Coloring eggs

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Springtime and more Chemo

Accessing his port

This is the needle that is used to access Austin's port.
 It is one inch long and is inserted through his skin into the port.  It lies flush with his skin.
We're #1
Getting a treat on the way to the hospital to get Chemo

Laughing with Jason

Doing what he loves best

Being silly and passing the time

The poison meant to save Austin's life

In disguise

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Back to Dixie

Round 2 of Chemo.  Thankfully, we were back to Dixie for this time (that's Dixie Regional Medical Center for all you non-St. George people).  We had a slight hiccup when the Home Health nurse was unable to get Austin's port accessed.  After two attempts, Austin wouldn't let her try again so we headed to the Peds floor to let them access his port and draw the CBC.  We have to know the results to verify that his blood counts are high enough for Chemo.  Austin's ANC was awesome at 2200 so we went across town to see Dr. Walker for a checkup.
Getting labs drawn

Silly face

Getting his wart burned off

Austin's checkup went well.  He had to have his wart on his foot burned off again.  No fun.  We got the ok for Chemotherapy and headed back across town to the Peds floor.  Austin got some chocolate cake to help him pass the time.

Chocolate cake and Chemo

So the day was long, but we got through it.  We kept Austin's port accessed so I could give him some nausea meds and a fluid bolus the next day.  He has done well the last two rounds without too much misery.  I am constantly awed and amazed by this sweet boy.  He hasn't let his cancer take over his life, but treats it more like just an annoyance, something that has to be dealt with but doesn't stop him from keeping up with school, playing with friends, and just being a kid.   He tolerates all this nonsense with very little complaining.  He is such an example to me and it is truly an honor to be around him.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Avoiding the Flu

As if our lives aren't complicated enough, I came down with Influenza A this week.  Yes, I got my flu shot last fall.  Unfortunately, the vaccine isn't foolproof and the cooties found me and my stressed out immune system.  I honestly don't remember ever being so sick.  I was terrified that Austin would get sick.  I was tested to confirm that it was the flu and the entire family was started on Tamiflu.  Thankfully, Grandma came to save the day and help Kevin with the kids so I was able to quarantine myself in my bedroom for the week.  Thanks Mom, we wouldn't have made it without you!
At the park

All my little ducks in a row

Jaxon and Grandma

By the grace of God, nobody else in the family got sick.  The kids had a great week with Grandma and I slowly got better.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Interim Maintenance 2

We made it through Delayed Intensification and on to start the next phase, Interim Maintenance 2 (seriously, who comes up with these names?).  This phase is 56 days long and involves 2 lumbar punctures with Chemo in the spine, and a total of 5 IV rounds of Chemotherapy with Vincristine and Methotrexate.  These rounds are 10 days apart, provided Austin's blood counts are high enough.  This phase is the same as Interim Maintenance 1 except that the dose of Methotrexate is much higher to begin and increases each round.  This is the drug that gave Austin such a hard time back in December so we are armed and ready to combat the nausea and vomiting.
My silly travel buddy
Austin's ANC was 1000 this week so we made the trip back to Salt Lake.  We had to mix things up a bit this time because we usually go to Grandma's house.  She was sick this week so we elected to have Kevin stay  with the other kids in St George and Austin and I made the long drive.  Austin had fun staying in a hotel and getting his own big bed.

Loving his own bed

We headed back to the Oncology Clinic and got Austin ready for his lumbar puncture.  He did so well last time with the conscious sedation, so we will do that from now on.  

Picking out a new hat from the hat tree

Getting his port accessed

Doing his favorite thing

Sleepy after his LP

Getting Chemo in the Clinic

The long ride home
So round one down, four to go.  May it come and go quickly with very few side effects and no complications.  We are so tired of this whole process.  Austin's poor body is tired of the constant assault. He hates it, he physically gets sick just thinking about going to the hospital for more treatment. The emotional stress on me is consuming.  To coordinate work for Kevin and me, school for the kids, daycare for Jaxon, and then throw in the devil wrench of cancer including trips to Salt Lake, labs drawn, doctors visits, chemo rounds, and days of misery from side effects is overwhelming.   The hardest thing a parent will ever do is watch their child suffer and be unable to do anything to stop it.  To watch the poison drip into his veins knowing that it means days of throwing up, pain and exhaustion and be helpless to stop it, is indescribable.  To go through all that and then be expected to carry on in the rest of life as if everything is fine is a joke.  Some days I stare at the laundry or dirty dishes and don't know how to begin.  Will life ever be "normal" again?  Will I ever stop being consumed with anxiety and the worry that all this will have been in vain?  I can't even go down that road, it paralyzes me. 

When I don't know how I will keep going, Austin will 
smile and I will be reminded of why we are going through all this.  My precious, sweet boy. I begged God to give him to me, to make me a Mommy.  I would have given anything to have him and I will give everything to continue to have him.  When he was born, he stared into my eyes and I was forever changed.  I knew right then that I would give my entire life for him. Nothing else matters. Of course we will jump through all the hoops we have to if it means we get a healthy boy in the end.  We will persevere and do what has to be done because we have no choice...and because he is worth it.

My Austin.  Sept 16, 2003, my life forever changed.